N.C. man surrenders after standoff, setting house on fire

Thomasi McDonald, Staff Writer

Copyright 2006 The News and Observer

RALEIGH -- Authorities arrested James Freddie Futrell, 45, early Wednesday after a nearly 2 1/2-hour standoff that sent fire and rescue personnel, police and Wake County sheriff's deputies to a residence in the 500 block of Harding Street.

Futrell, who is listed on arrest warrants as having no permanent address, has been charged with four counts of communicating threats, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official and one count of second-degree arson, court records show.

Police have accused Futrell of threatening to kill three police officers and one sheriff's deputy with a butcher knife and setting fire to the house where the stand-off occurred, court records show. No injuries were reported.

The incident began a little after 10 p.m. Tuesday, when the Wake County Sheriff's Office asked the Raleigh Police Department to serve a warrant charging Futrell with communicating threats to someone who lives in the southern part of Wake County. The sheriff's office requested police assistance, said Wake sheriff's spokeswoman Phyllis Stephens.

Both agencies arrived at the residence, said Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue.

"At first, they were not able to find anyone," Sughrue said. "The house was dark."

A few minutes later, a resident of the home, Virginia Dowd, arrived. When she entered the house, police say Futrell came forward, throwing objects.

After law officers got Dowd out of harm's way, Futrell came out of the house brandishing two large knives, but he stayed on the front porch, authorities said.

"A dialogue was begun," between police and the suspect, who kept going in and out of the house, Sughrue said.

Fire and rescue personnel were already at the scene when they saw a fire in the rear of the residence. Firefighters extinguished the blaze from the outside.

The suspect peacefully surrendered to authorities about 1 a.m., Sughrue said.

Futrell is in custody at the Wake County jail in lieu of $220,000 bail, court records show. 
May 4, 2006

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